Specialist Qualification in Habilitation and Disabilities of Sight (Children and Young People) Grad Dip

London, Bloomsbury

The Graduate Diploma in Habilitation and Disabilities of Sight (Children and Young People) trains students to become Qualified Habilitation Specialists. An interim award, the Graduate Certificate in Habilitation and Disabilities of Sight, trains students to become Qualified Habilitation Assistants. They will learn how to support, plan, carry out, supervise and evaluate the habilitation skills of children and young people (aged 0-25 years) with vision impairment(s) in home, public and educational settings.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
2 academic years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 28 Jun 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Jul 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

First degree or a minimum qualification equivalent to QCF Level 4 plus extensive relevant work experience.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 3

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

This programme is suitable for international students on a Student visa – study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting October.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

You will be provided with the opportunity to benefit from our established links with Habilitation VI UK (formerly MISE UK). You will obtain a qualification that matches the Quality Standards-based registration requirements for habilitation practitioners in the UK. You will work with eminent practitioners in the field of vision impairment, gaining experience of working in a variety of habilitation settings and environments. You will also benefit from learning from other related professionals in the multi-disciplinary, collaborative field of habilitation.

Who this course is for

This programme is suited to people who want to become habilitation specialists, directing and implementing mobility and independence work with children and young people from birth to 25 years who are blind or visually impaired and may have other needs.

What this course will give you

This programme has been matched against the National Occupational Standards for Sensory Services of the CWDC (2009), and the Quality Standards for Habilitation (Second Edition; Hayton & Wood, 2022). The programme has been developed with the support of the DfE, RNIB and Habilitation VI UK. It takes trainees from the basics of habilitation up to the standard needed for registration as an Habilitation Specialist with Habilitation VI UK.

Successful completion of the Graduate Diploma, followed by a probationary year, is a registration requirement of the UK Habilitation Professional Body.

Successful completion of the Graduate Certificate (interim award), followed by a probationary year, is a registration requirement for Qualified Habilitation Assistants of the UK Habilitation Professional Body.

More info: Habilitation VI UK website

The foundation of your career

You will learn the standardised and adapted practical skills techniques suitable for delivering habilitation practice with children and young people with vision impairment aged 0-25 years. You will learn and develop problem-solving techniques and develop your creativity in the teaching and delivery of habilitation programmes. You will learn how theory and practice are tightly connected and how research can inform the development of practical techniques. You will learn how legislation informs provisional arrangements and how to support and advise settings on 'Best Practice'.

You will develop and refine your skills relative to supporting children and young people with vision impairment aged 0-25 years, in addition to strategies to support and collaborate with parents and caregivers as partners in the habilitation programme. You will be equipped with the baseline skills and competencies required in the profession to deliver habilitation programmes involving children and young people with vision impairment aged 0-25 years.

You will learn how to manage your caseload and how to differentiate your teaching to individualised and bespoke needs. Graduates of the programme are currently working as Qualified Habilitation Assistants, Qualified Habilitation Professionals and Heads of Service. Graduates work in local authorities for sensory services, consortia or sensory impairment services for national and local visual and sensory impairment-related charities.


Graduates of this programme work across agencies such as local authorities, schools, and charities to support and develop the habilitation (mobility, orientation and independence) of children and young people who are blind or partially sighted. Graduates of the course, mentor current students and offer placements to support practical and professional development.


You will have the opportunity to network with your peers on the programme in addition to being informed about external events, for example, the annual Habilitation VI UK conference. Networking opportunities extend beyond the specifics of the programme, as students have the opportunity to engage with the department's research seminar series and conference events.


The Graduate Diploma in Habilitation is accredited by HABVIUK as the programme meets the professional competencies required for Qualified Habilitation Assistants (for exit after year 1) and Qualified Habilitation Specialists (for full course completion). Registration for HABVIUK is subject to a 1 year probationary period after completing the Graduate Diploma. 

Teaching and learning

Teaching on the programme is split between academic and practical competencies. Academic sessions may take the form of a "traditional" lecture, a "flipped" classroom, group discussion/peer learning and group presentations. The practical skills components require you to work under sleepshade/simulation spectacles with a partner/in small groups in to learn and practice their skills. All teaching and learning methods are scaffolded over time, increasing student responsibility, autonomy and reflection in preparation for employment as a Habilitation Specialist. This is a very "hands on" programme, and the teaching delivery reflects this.

Both face-to-face and virtual learning environment elements will inform the pattern of teaching on the programme. The programme is assessed by written assessments, coursework assignments, practical skill assessments, skill observations, self-videoed practical assessment activities, presentations, placements, and a portfolio which is matched against the Quality Standards for Habilitation Work with Children and Young People (2011; 2022).

For teaching and learning, teaching blocks equate to 160 hours per year; split between lectures, practical skills and independent study time. Four 20-minute compulsory tutorials (initiated by students) are offered over the year (more if required), and these can be used for both academic and pastoral tutorials. A minimum of half a day (4 hours) per week, outside of university contact time, is recommended for personal study. This is to be negotiated between the student and their employer, in the first instance. Please note that these hours do not include practical skills assessments or assignment write-up.


You will study policy and practice for habilitation in your first year and how these relate to educational contexts, such as mainstream and specialist schools. You will receive practical skills tutoring in sighted guide and pre-cane skills, which you are encouraged to practice in your employment setting under the guidance and supervision of your employer. Your second year of study builds on the skills learned in the first year, but increases focus on long-cane skills, habilitation at home, in public settings and during transitions (characteristic of the Habilitation Specialist Role). In the second year of study, you are also required to complete an integrated assessed 'Extended Training Placement' in a setting different to your 'home' setting, in order to maximise your range of experience as a practitioner. The practical skills training combined with the academic content prepares you for your role as Habilitation Professionals in the Service Setting. The 2-year programme demonstrates the importance of linking theory to practice.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits and are governed by the IOE fitness to practice guidance. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, practical skills assessments, and a satisfactory outcome of the 20-day minimum integrated, assessed, Extended Training Placement, you will be awarded a Graduate Diploma in Habilitation and Disabilities of Sight (Children and Young People).


The second year of the programmer involves an extended training/teaching placement. This is usually in a setting different to a student's typical working context. 


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Specialist Qualification in Habilitation and Disabilities of Sight (Children and Young People) Grad Dip

Do you want to enhance your skills and further your career in special and inclusive education? Our programmes enable you to engage with the latest theory and research on special educational needs and disabilities. We welcome you to book your place at our Virtual Open Event. You will meet our Programme Leaders, hear about the programmes you are interested in and have the chance to ask any questions you might have. These sessions are free and open to all.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £8,650
Tuition fees (2024/25) £14,800

Additional costs

Students will likely incur additional costs for transport to and from some training areas in both years of study. Students will be notified of this ahead of time. The estimated cost is that of an off-peak travel card/daily Oyster card fare according to Transport for London (TFL). 

In the second year of study, travel (e.g., fuel or public transport) and subsistence costs (including accommodation for overnight stays) might incur from undertaking the 20-day minimum Extended Assessed Training Placement. An example of a total placement cost that required long distance travel and accommodation is £1,780. Whereby accommodation was £50 per night for 10 nights, travel to and from placement was £60 per return car journey (completed 10 times), travel whilst on placement (i.e., to and from caseload settings by car) was £40 (over 20 days), and a daily food allowance of £32 (for 20 days). For other students, the anticipated cost can be the same as or even less than their standard daily costs.

The overall cost to you will be determined by the location and format of your placement (i.e., 1 day per week for 20 weeks or 2 days per week for 10 weeks) in addition to your method of transport (car or public transport) and the star rating of hotel accommodation (if needed). We generally recommend that you budget for £90-100 per day as an upper limit, but this is subject to change according to external factors beyond our control such as prices of fuel, public transport, and accommodation.

Please note that the costs presented here are indicative, based on previous accounts in 2022.

This programme requires a completed DBS check. You will receive more information from UCL on how to complete the check once you have firmly accepted an unconditional offer for the programme. The DBS application cost will be covered by UCL, but offer holders will also need to have their ID checked and verified at a Post Office, for which they will incur a charge of £15. The offer holder is also required to arrange and pay for any overseas police check that may be necessary – costs vary by country.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

IOE-Clarke Scholarships

Deadline: 3 May 2024
Value: Tuition fees, return flights and stipend (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE-ISH Centenary Masters Scholarships

Deadline: 3 May 2024
Value: Tuition fees and accommodation (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Habilitation and Disabilities of Sight (Children and Young People) at graduate level
  • why you want to study Habilitation and Disabilities of Sight (Children and Young People) at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

In some exceptional cases, students may not have Level 4 qualifications or a first degree (note: not the classification 'first' but an initial degree). If the applicant has extensive work experience (over 5 years) in the field of vision impairment, habilitation, working in settings with children with special educational needs and/or disabilities, we would consider these applications. It is essential that the personal statement reflects these extensive skills and experiences and referees are chosen to support this. These applications will be considered toward the end of the application window, where a statement in support of the application will be made by the Programme Leader, and will be sent to the Dean of Students for consideration. Please note, these places are limited.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

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